When we blearily arrived at Britex this morning, we found Precious Cargo, Empress 35 of Sacramento worriedly waiting outside for us to open. She needed tulle for the 11am funeral celebration for José Sarria at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, so naturally we let her in early, cut a length of tulle for Ms. Cargo, and sent her and her companion on their way. Mr. José Sarria, also known as Empress José I, left exceedingly specific fashion requests for his funeral service; female titleholders from his Imperial Court were requested to wear “black/dark full length (understated) mourning attire, crowns, shoulder length veils covering both crowns and one’s face” along with “black gloves (opera length if wearing short sleeves).” We’re tickled pink to hear that Empress José I will be buried in a plot next to San Francisco’s self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States, Joshua Norton, who died in 1880. Sarria was the first openly gay man to run for office when he ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961, founded the Tavern Guild (the first gay business association in the United States), and the Imperial Court System, one of the oldest and largest gay organizations in the world, which is still in function today. The City of San Francisco renamed a section of 16th Street in Sarria’s honor. We love San Francisco; we are pleased that we were able to assist Ms. Cargo and play the tiniest part in honoring José Sarria!
Category Archive: Hand-Made with Britex Materials
When I saw the thick, bold charcoal and oatmeal colored stripes on this textured linen blend, I immediately thought of playing with contrasting stripes and creating a strong, structured silhouette for a high-fashion fall look. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through how to update an existing pattern and share some helpful design and patternmaking tips along the way.
Ellen sent us this picture of her and her husband at the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery’s Historical Ball at the McDonald Mansion in Santa Rosa (the mansion was used for filming exterior scenes in Pollyanna – starring Hayley Mills. It is a stately Victorian and absolutely spectacular!) She told us, “I’d bought an antique lace ball gown at the Sonoma County Museum’s de-acquisitioning sale a few years ago, and brought it into Britex to figure out how to re-fashion it to fit me (the original owner of the gown was at least a foot short than I, and half my weight!) The original gown was of unusual cotton lace over silk – and the silk was in shreds. I took apart the lace and brought it into Britex. Douglas helped me choose just the right satin for the foundation of the gown. Many months later, the photo is the finished product! I rate visiting Britex up there with visiting Disneyland – and I am a major DL fan! I especially value the excellent customer service from staff who really know what they are selling. Thank you!!!” We are amazed at the magnificent job she did with this gown – and are thoroughly taken with the joy and charm that Ellen and her husband radiate.
Melody sent us the photos of her new quilt, the Fashionista Crazy Quilt. She says, “This Fashionista Crazy Quilt was a two year project completed by Melody Chan Doss in 2013. Members of the San Francisco Quilt Guild (SFQG) pieced 19 friendship blocks for this quilt from original theme material provided by Melody. They returned the pieced blocks after a year and Melody spent the next year embellishing each block individually before piecing them together with border, binding, and back. It is a unique quilt, never to be duplicated exactly. The center six blocks are decidedly more red than the balance of the White, Black, Red, and Gray color motif. Hope this provides some ideas for your own creative projects. Charlie Wambeke’s beautiful photography made this quilt come alive through his images presented here. This Crazy Quilt is a tribute to fashion; to my mother who is a former factory seamstress, and to Mrs. Lucy Spector who is the founder of Britex Fabrics where I have worked for 34 years, and who opened my eyes to fashion.” And of course, much of the trims and buttons are available on the 3rd floor of Britex Fabrics!
Armin sent us this photo of a model wearing an exquisite one shouldered evening gown made of cable knit lace fabric from Britex Fabrics. Made by The Factory by The Evans Group, this couture gown is just one of six different styles in The Factory’s Custom Design collection. We love the combination of tailored cable knit, sensuous cling, and understated warm creamy color – perfect for warm summer nights and into the cooler evenings of fall.
Paula emailed us photos of this elegant full-length evening frock that she made from silk bought at Britex Fabrics. She says, “I was very much influenced by the watching of Downton Abbey as I designed this dress, with large sleeves, scarf neck, right skirt, high waist, semi-fitted. The print has a touch of Japanese flavor, which was also common in that period. I found the dress to be perfect to wear during formal evenings in a recent cruise; the turquoise matched perfectly with the sea, and the pinkish color matched the sunset!” This dress is perfect for a romantic moonlit dance…try dancing the sliding and poetical Castle Walk to The Castle House Rag!
When we got the online order for Honeycomb Black & Ecru Cotton fabric from Judy we were super excited! Judy is the mother of Kristin, a Britex Fabrics’ employee, a photographer, and a roller skating fiend. We love helping our family create new items, and were wondering what Judy would sew from this sophisticated print. As it turns out, Judy was attracted to this because she loves anything that is black and white, and enclosed a photo including her cat Titus to prove her point. Judy used an older McCalls pattern, and happily reports that although the fabric is cotton, it does not wrinkle. She says, “There was an option for using a contrasting trim and belt – and luckily I had a piece of textured heavy cotton in my fabric stash and it was just the right amount. I lined the front and back – not the sleeves – and did not use muslin. I found I had a piece of ecru thin cotton lining fabric and I used it because it was soft and not as bulky. My stash finally paid off and I was able to use these fabric pieces that I had saved for a long time.” We love how the black trim and the simplicity of the kimono lines accentuates the geometric pattern of the fabric!
It seems like tissue knits are everywhere lately, and with good reason, they’re amazing for summer layering. They make a nice light layer for cool evenings or, if you’re in Chicago like I am, all these cool days we’re having lately. Tissue knits can be a bit intimidating, they’re so thin, wispy, and roll like crazy, so I’m here to show you how I work with them.
I was lucky enough to be able to make two tees in this amazing Japanese tissue knit, the first I went with these classic tomato and cream stripes and in the second I did a bit of color-blocking with this amazing neon yellow and charcoal grey. These knits are so light and airy, I couldn’t believe it. Serious dream town. In this tutorial I’m using my Hemlock Tee pattern which I created just for these tissue knits. You can download the pattern for free here at Grainline Studios.
It is a year filled with love for Cherie of you and mie and Hideko, as the legalization of same-sex marriages led to a swift and sweet trip to San Francisco’s beautiful gilded-topped City Hall, and they expect another child this fall. Cherie made her wedding frock from cotton eyelet, cotton shirting for lining, and silk ribbon for her sash…all from Britex Fabrics. We love how she incorporated the eyelet border along the hem and her soft butterfly sleeves! Psst…Cherie also made their daughter Yuki’s adorable dusty plum eyelet frock.
Hello, sailor! Priscilla designer and owner of BeBops: Custom swimwear design from Gulfport, Florida makes bespoke vintage style swim suits adorned with buttons from Britex Fabrics. This seaworthy style is suited for swingin’ gals everywhere, from the girl next door to pinup glamorpusses. We love the boy shorts style and the fact that she makes each suit to fit your unique measurements! As Pricilla says, “keep your toes in the SAND!”